Sunday, February 08, 2009

What is Crazy?

A friend posted an article about giving up refrigerators to be more eco-friendly, which started an interesting conversation on where we draw the line between behaviors we think are crazy, and ones we find perfectly acceptable. She said we have to be careful to avoid thinking that everybody who does less than I do (of whatever) is a slacker, everybody who does more than I do is a fanatical nut, and everybody who does as much as I do is a sensible moderate.

I found this a really interesting statement. It's true, if it's something we do, it's perfectly reasonable, but if it's something outside of our comfort zone we often feel a need to label it as weird or extreme.

I was thinking about this a little with the new yoga kids DVD my son has been watching. He loves them, and askes to do at least one nearly every day. One of them has the Namaste Song in it, and we both sing along:

Namaste, Namaste, I am the light and the light is me. Namaste, Namaste, I am part of all I see. The light in me, sees the light in you. Bow to me, I bow to you.

Ten years ago I had a yoga dvd that I had to get rid of because I found it "too chanty" which I thought was kind of silly. This namaste song might have been silly to me too at that point in my life, but now I'm able to appreciate the message of it, and am glad that my kids are growing up with things like that in their lives, so that they don't have to overcome the "It's weird/crazy" problem.

I've also been thinking about how we present ourselves to others. Sometimes I feel like when I talk to people about things that are important to me, they start to think that I'm maybe a little odd. I don't mind being a little odd as long as it's a good kind of odd, but it bothers me that people might put me in the weird/crazy/fanatical nut category (because I think I'm pretty normal, really). :) The main problem with getting labeled as a nut is that people tend to stop listening to what we have to say in the future, because after all, what can we gain by listening to a nut?

So here is my dilemma, do I speak honestly how I feel/think whatever, and risk losing my audience, or do I keep quiet on things that I think might make people think I'm weird? I prefer being honest, I don't like feeling like I'm hiding something...

(Sorry for the randomness of this post, I'm sick and these thoughts have been bouncing around my head lately.)


Charlotte said...

Speak honestly. Please. There are so few that do. But that was one of the first things I came to learn and love about you. It's still one of the things I treasure most about you! I've kept up with very few of my old roommates over the years... You are special and you have something important to say. Please say it:) Have a little faith in your readers!


Allie said...

I'm less worried about losing blog readers, I don't notice so much if someone doesn't read my blog. I'm more concerned about friends/neighbors/family.

I really think (perhaps wrongly) that most people think some of the same things that I think, but don't say it out loud.

I just can't make myself keep quiet. :)

Kari said...

I love that you speak freely about what you know and believe. There have been times I had a question on something and knew I could get an honest and smart answer from you because you have previously spoken of that issue. I agree with previous comments, please keep saying what you believe!

derekstaff said...

I think it is important tto pick and choose when I speak up and when I stay quiet. I never lie, of course. But if I'm in company which will be unreceptive to my ideas, I will either keep quiet or will phrase my answers very tactfully. That way I'm less likely to engender contention and may plant seeds for the future. If I sense the company will keep an open mind, I'll be more forthright. If there is any question, I lean more towards speaking frankly, but that's just my personality.

And if I'm online, I'll be a complete blowhard.

Allie said...

That's kind of what I've been thinking Derek- I also think it's good to try to find something that you agree on every once in awhile, because of the whole, "if you agree with me, then you must be reasonable" thing.

It's more difficult to do that online... :)

Emily said...

I didn't learn the word Namaste until sometime in my 20s. While I may not go around bowing to everyone and greeting them that way, how would it be if every time we met or greeted somebody we recognized and honored their divine nature? Maybe over time the benefits of this kind of interaction would outweigh the sense of self-consciousness or embarrassment.
Thanks so much for letting this in to your kids' lives. It makes me feel that there is a lot about the present time that is really wonderful, and at least for some kids, it's an amazing time to be a kid growing up.